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Perry County officials react to alarming COVID-19 incidence rates

(Cory Sanning/WYMT)
Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 9:26 PM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - When Perry County health officials were informed of the county’s alarming increase in COVID-19 transmission Wednesday, they immediately began searching for answers.

“The good part of it is, is that we have a lot of testing going on in Perry County,” Kentucky River District Public Health Director Scott Lockard said. “When you look at the number of tests being done in Perry County compared to surrounding counties, it is five, 10 times the neighboring counties.”

Despite the area holding a nearly 55 percent vaccination rate according to the Team Kentucky website, it also holds an incidence rate of nearly 209 per 100,000 people.

Perry County Judge-Executive Scott Alexander said that this has not stopped the public from doing its due diligence, however.

“Our people are trying to do the right thing and if they think they’ve been exposed or they’ve come into contact with it, they’re trying to find out so that they can isolate themselves,” Alexander said. “So, even though we are high in the positivity rate, we’re also leading in tests per capita as well.”

That is an initiative that he and other officials in the area are following as well.

“We’re going to do what’s best for the safety and well-being of everyone and the public’s followed that really well,” Alexander said. “We’ve only had one or two cases where people were upset that they had to wear a mask but we have to do what’s right for everyone.”

With the annual Black Gold Festival near, Alexander and Lockard are urging the public to keep that initiative.

“How do we do the events in a safe manner? Even if you’re outdoors in a big crowd, you can still mask and you should,” Lockard said. “Black Gold being an outdoor event is much safer than an indoor event right now but no event is 100 percent safe so people need to use their judgment.”

For a detailed map of COVID-19 incidence rates in your area, click here.

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